At the Crossroads
Title Details

312 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

5 b/w. Illustrations

Series: African Articulations

Imprint: James Currey

At the Crossroads

Nigerian Travel Writing and Literary Culture in Yoruba and English

by Rebecca Jones

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ASAUK FAGE & OLIVER PRIZE 2020
'Honorable Mention' for the ALA FIRST BOOK AWARD - SCHOLARSHIP 2021

A path-breaking contribution to the critical literature on African travel writing.
Throughout the twentieth century, Nigerians have been writing about their travels within Nigeria using a variety of media and forms, from serialised newspaper travelogues to personal diaries, autobiographies and online narratives.These works offer important insights into how Nigerians have represented Nigeria to itself and to the world.
This is the first book to examine the production of Nigerian travel narratives about Nigeria in the century from colonisation to independence. Rebecca Jones argues that we can read these texts both as the products of a local Nigerian print culture, and through their articulations with global travel writing traditions. Focusing on travel writing published from 1914 to 2014 in the Yoruba-speaking region of southwestern Nigeria, home to a well-established and prolific writing and print culture in both Yoruba and English, this cultural history of Nigerian travel comprisesclose readings of these works, and argues that the production of travel writing in the region can be read not simply as a foreign import, but as a cluster of genres with a cohesive local history.

Writers discussed include Samuel Ajayi Crowther, I.B. Thomas, E.A. Akintan, Isaac Delano, D.O. Fagunwa, Amos Tutuola, Ben Okri, Babatunde Shadeko, Damilola Ajenifuja, Chibuzor Mirian Azubuike, Pelu Awofeso, Lape Soetan, Teju Cole, Adewale Maja-Pearce, Noo Saro-Wiwa, and the Invisible Borders collective.

Rebecca Jones is a Lecturer in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham.

Nigeria: Premium Times Books
Introduction
African travel writing: genres of writing and forms of travel
Travel writing, colonial print culture, and the Yoruba newspapers of the 1920s
Isaac Délàno's The Soul of Nigeria, at the crossroads of "civilisation"
Journeys of experience and transformation: the quest narrative in Yoruba and English fiction
Surveying and serving Nigeria in national travel writing after the civil war
"Nigeria is my playground": travel for travel's sake in twenty-first century Nigeria
From the "dark return" to the "open" nation: diaspora travel narratives of return to Nigeria
Epilogue: Southwest Nigerian travel writing and literary culture at the crossroads
Bibliography
"At the Crossroads is guaranteed to remain an authoritative reference for many years to come." Canadian Journal of African Studies
"This original and highly engaging book looks at a century-long history of writing by Nigerians in which journeys are the organising theme. It encompasses a diversity of genres, formal and informal - Yoruba newspaper columns, a memoir, several generations of Yoruba fiction, a contemporary travel blog, diasporic narratives of belonging and return. This is travel writing not as imperial gaze but as a mode of engaging with and articulating new experiences of sociality and space 'from within'. Rebecca Jones's study breaks new ground in reading English- and Yoruba-language texts alongside each other, recognising their long history of interaction and cohabitation. The sparkling, illuminating, insightful interpretations of the texts makes the book a joy to read.' -" Karin Barber, Emeritus Professor of African Cultural Anthropology, University of Birmingham
"'This is a rich and nuanced book that admirably succeeds in reframing research on travel writing by drawing attention to the multifaceted history of travel writings by African authors which scholars have long ignored.' -" Thomas G. Kirsch, Professor of Ethnology & Cultural Anthropology, University of Konstanz
"'[A]n important study of travel writing in its most expansive sense. By focussing on writing in Yoruba and English, Rebecca Jones has created a work which challenges the efficacy of colonialist binaries of tradition/modernity, local/global, civilised/native, bringing together an astonishing range of writing including formal travelogues, diaries, letters, newspapers, fictional texts, autobiographies, blogs and oral narratives. This is a crucial and urgent study which innovates not only African literary studies but textual analysis more broadly, challenging us to offer more nuanced, contextualised and rigorous understandings of the intersection of print culture, narrative and the negotiation of ideas of self, region, community and nation as lived and living experiences.' -" Madhu Krishnan, Professor of African, World and Comparative Literatures, University of Bristol

Hardcover

9781847012227

September 2019

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9781787445918

September 2019

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Title Details

312 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

5 b/w. Illustrations

Series: African Articulations

Imprint: James Currey